Singapore Earns Millions of Dollars by Rice Re-Exports


Sep 28, 2022 | Agricultural Markets News

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Since Singapore is not an agricultural producer, it depends entirely on Rice imports. Singapore is predominantly a long grain consuming market, but all types and forms of Rice are available to the consumer in supermarkets. There are no barriers to the Rice trade compared to most Asian countries.

In 2020, Singapore imported Rice worth $289M, becoming the 31st largest importer of Rice in the world. Singapore imports Rice primarily from: Thailand ($123 million), India ($60 million), Vietnam ($57.1 million), China ($11.5 million), and Cambodia ($8.57 million).

In the same year, Singapore exported Rice worth $79.6M, making it the 22nd largest exporter of Rice in the world. The leading destination of Rice exports from Singapore is Indonesia ($36.1M), Mozambique ($18.9M), Benin ($13.7M), Malaysia ($5.65M), and the Philippines ($1.03M).

Singapore’s Rice imports from Vietnam and Thailand are going normal. Vietnam is currently the third biggest Rice exporter to Singapore, after India and Thailand, with 80,000-90,000 tons of Rice worth nearly 80 million SGD each year, making up 20 percent of the local Rice market.

While Rice imports in recent years have averaged 311,000 tons, an average of 61,000 tons was re-exported, so the total size of the Singapore Rice market is about 250,000 tons. The U.S. exported nearly $3.5 million to Singapore in 2019, the majority of which was medium grain milled Rice.

Indian Effect on Singapore Rice Market

Currently, the country is not facing any significant disruption in importing Rice from India, but the prices may go up as New Delhi imposed a 20 percent levy on exports of non-basmati varieties and banned the export of broken Rice. Singaporean Rice imports from India were $62 million in 2020, according to the United Nations database on international trade.

Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry here noted that Singapore’s consumption of India’s restricted types of Rice is low. In addition, the nation’s Rice Stockpile Scheme helped it mitigate the impact of any supply disruptions or price fluctuations. The Ministry added that the Government would continue to monitor the situation and ensure that Singapore has sufficient Rice supply.

Under the Rice Stockpile Scheme, Rice importers are required to hold an inventory buffer equivalent to two times their average monthly imports, noted Trade and Industry Ministry. The Rice Stockpile Scheme helps to ensure an adequate supply of Rice in the market and maintain the stability of prices during periods of uncertainty and supply shortages.

However, some businesses are set to raise their prices owing to India’s export duty and ban on some varieties. Mustafa Centre, one of the largest Indian-origin retailers which source most of its Rice products from India, will mark up the prices of affected products by 20 percent when it receives its latest shipment. “There is no issue for the supply of Rice; only the price will be affected,” Mustafa Centre’s purchasing manager Mohd Saleem said.

  1. Rama Murthy of Chennai Trading and Supermarket added that his regular bulk-order customers, mostly caterers who provide food for migrant workers, are now hesitant to buy from him. He is passing on the price increase to his customers by hiking the prices of all types of Rice, except basmati, by Singapore dollars 5 for a 25kg bag.

According to him, customers are confused and upset at the uncertain situation, and they are hesitant to buy in bulk now due to the increase in prices, explaining that he expects his income to be affected in the long run. Prices tend to go up during certain seasons and fall during other seasons. But this time round, it is a bit different; prices remain high.

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